Dec. 3, 1963 Huntingdon Valley Montgomery County Pennsylvania, USA
Mar. 31, 2005 Pinellas Park Pinellas County Florida, USA
Social Rights Figure, Medical Figure. After a heart attack in 1990 left her in a comatose state that was later diagnosed as a 'permanent vegetative state,' the fight between her husband, Michael Schiavo, and her parents, Mary and Bob Schindler, as to whether she wished to be kept alive or to die caused a running legal battle that lasted for 15 years. Married to Michael Schiavo in 1984, she suffered massive brain damage after a cardiac arrest, which was diagnosed at the time to have been brought on by bulimia (Michael Schiavo later won a malpractice suit against his wife's doctors for misdiagnosing the effects of the disorder). By 1993 the opinion of a number of medical practitioners was that her condition was permanent and irreversible, and after 7 years in this state Michael started the drive to end her life, which he contended would have been fulfilling her wishes. The claims that her condition was unequivocally irreversible and that she would not want to live in such a state were vigorously disputed by Terri Schiavo's parents. Through 2005 the legal battles were enacted in a number of Florida courts, and in the end the belief that her state was permanent was confirmed by the court appointed physicians, and Michael Schiavo's contention that her wishes were that she not live in the state were affirmed by the Court System. As the legal battle climaxed in March 2005, all judicial reviews, even those from Federal Courts, which President George W. Bush signed special legislature to permit, agreed with Michael Schiavo and the lower court rulings. Her feeding tube was removed on March 18, 2005 (the third time it had been removed), and massive media coverage marked the last weeks of Terri Schiavo's life. She passed away in a Pinellas Park, Florida hospice 13 days later at the age of 41.